After nearly a month and a half, the latest installment of the highly-anticipated WATCHMEN sequel is finally here! The predecessor to DOOMSDAY CLOCK #5 gave readers plenty of twists to ponder during the brief hiatus. Firstly, we came to know that the new, mysterious Rorschach is Reggie Long. He’s the son of Dr. Malcolm Long, Walter Kovacs’, the original Rorschach’s, psychologist.

We also found out that Reggie was once committed to the Fitzgerald Mental Home, where he became acquainted with none other than the Mothman himself. His experiences with the notable ex-crimefighter ultimately influenced Reggie into becoming the second incarnation of Rorschach.

Now, DOOMSDAY CLOCK #5 digs deeper into the WATCHMEN legacy as bigger, darker secrets rise to the surface. Warning, potential spoilers are below!

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DOOMSDAY CLOCK #5 page 6. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Life and Death of Ozymandias

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #5 opens with Adrian Veidt, also known as Ozymandias, waking up in a hospital bed. If you’re a little rusty on how he ended up in said bed, it was due to a violent confrontation with the Comedian in DOOMSDAY CLOCK #3. During the fight, Veidt fell twenty stories, surprisingly resulting in only a fractured rib and pulmonary contusion. Despite his injuries, it’s not long before Veidt breaks out of the hospital. However, his escape is interrupted by Batman, who confronts Veidt in his getaway ship.

The issue then segues into a scene at the Daily Planet. There, Lois Lane tells Clark Kent that she wishes to investigate further into the concept of the Supermen Theory, introduced in issue #2. This theory suggests that the United States government has been responsible for creating metahumans in an effort to create super-soldiers. According to the article at the end of DOOMSDAY CLOCK #5, 97% of metahumans claim to be American.

In Darkest Day

Later, Lois meets with the man she believes to have all the answers: Lex Luthor. He makes several shocking claims in their meeting. Firstly, he states that the one responsible for the creation of the government’s metahumans is actually a metahuman as well. Additionally, Luthor affirms that the one responsible was once a member of the Justice League.

As Lois pursues her investigation, the issue transitions to the journey of Johnny Thunder as he escapes from his retirement home. The reason for his breakout? A mysterious green fire. While this takes place, Ozymandias and Batman engage in a heated conversation that culminates in the beating of Batman by numerous protestors after Ozymandias throws him into the crowd.

The final panels of the installment thus depict a broken Batman, while as Rorschach and Saturn Girl, who teamed up with Reggie in the previous issue, find Thunder with an alien object. Rorschach holds the device in his hands and simply asks, “What is lantern?”

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The Hero Syndrome

The standout moment of DOOMSDAY CLOCK #5 lies in the exploration of Batman through Ozymandias’ perspective. In the opening pages of the issue, we see two doctors discuss their perceptions of Superman and Batman as heroes. They both lack faith in Batman but still maintain hope in Superman. Their dialogue regarding the iconic characters exemplifies public perception of the archetypal hero. Ultimately, Superman fits the ideal through his optimistic character whereas many believe Batman’s presence in the world has incited violence.

Ozymandias embodies that belief as well. He states that much of the chaos and protests within Gotham City is ultimately a response to Batman’s existence. Ozymandias goes on to state that Batman has ignored the true state of his reality because he’s been preoccupied with “the narrative of good versus bad.” This concept implies the endless cycle of Batman’s crimefighting career, a cycle that will persist because his role invites challenges from powerful villains. The greater a figure Batman becomes, the more pride one will attain in defeating him. The longer Batman continues fighting crime, the longer that challenge will remain.

The Hero the World Doesn’t Deserve

To Ozymandias, this very narrative is one that has consumed Batman’s career and has led the Dark Knight to become blind to the festering chaos within Gotham City. In the process of doing what he believed to be right, has Batman failed his city by creating an unstoppable battle between good and evil?

Writer Geoff Johns gives his all to DOOMSDAY CLOCK #5. Despite its many threads, it manages to be a cohesive work that brings many perspectives to the concept of the “Hero Syndrome,” something addressed in regard to Ozymandias’ actions in the climax of WATCHMEN.

Some heroes believe their actions satisfy the salvation the world needs. However, others believe that those very actions are the catalysts for humanity’s endless chaos and misery.

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DOOMSDAY CLOCK #5 page 12. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Many Hues of DOOMSDAY CLOCK #5

One aspect I’ve consistently enjoyed in DOOMSDAY CLOCK is its artistic parallels to WATCHMEN. Artist Gary Frank pays homage to the original work through each and every panel. From the series’ dark tone to its emphasis on dialogue, Frank never misses a beat.

In regard to this issue, in particular, the sequences involving Johnny Thunder stand out. Frank emphasizes his isolation in a dangerous reality that no one would want to be alone in. As a result, there’s a sense of dread that comes from those moments.

This reality is grim and lost. However, is hope making a resurgence from within?

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The final panels feature the appearance of a Green Lantern power battery. In those panels, Frank implements much more brightness that counters the overarching dreariness of the issue. Thus, the depiction of an iconic symbol of the DC Universe unexpectedly brings some hope into the final pages of DOOMSDAY CLOCK #5, even if that hope will ultimately be fleeting.

Overall, Frank’s work is wonderfully consistent and detailed, bringing us into this world we fear to enter. As a result, this installment is perhaps one of his best.

What Lies Beyond

We are almost halfway through DOOMSDAY CLOCK’s run, and there are arguably more questions than answers. That’s certainly not a bad thing.

The series has maintained its parallels to WATCHMEN, though it doesn’t rely on nostalgia in its success. Rather, its originality and flawless execution in merging two distinct universes have made this issue, and this series, unforgettable.

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #5 by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank
DOOMSDAY CLOCK #5 is a perfect issue from start to finish as it flawlessly merges two distinct universes and figures.
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